Our “Quick Shot” series offers brief answers to common objections to the Christian worldview. Each response is limited to one paragraph. These responses are designed to (1) answer the objection as concisely as possible, (2) challenge the objector to think more deeply about his or her claim, and (3) facilitate a “gospel” conversation. In this article, we’re offering “Quick Shot” responses to the objection, Quick Shot: “There are no good reasons to believe in miracles.”
“How do you define ‘miracles’? A miracle is commonly described as an event ‘that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws.’ Given that definition, most cosmologists (even atheist cosmologists) already believe in at least one miracle. The ‘Standard Cosmological Model’ for the origin of the universe (the theory accepted by most astrophysicists) is ‘Big Bang Cosmology.’ This model describes a universe that came into existence from nothing. If all space, time and matter began at a point in the distant past and came into existence from nothing, the cause of the universe must itself be non-spatial, non-temporal and non-material. That means the cause of the universe ‘is not explicable by natural or scientific laws.’ Since the cause and the origin of the universe already falls into the definition of ‘miraculous,’ why would anyone doubt the veracity of other miracles?”
“Some people reject the existence of miracles based on their belief that the only forces governing the universe are ‘natural,’ ‘physical,’ or ‘material.’ For example, if you reject the existence of anything ‘extra’ or ‘supra’ natural, you’re not likely to believe in miracles that violate natural laws. But, we have a shared knowledge of non-physical and non-material realities: we have a daily, common experience of consciousness and mind, and we also experience free agency. Strict atheists (like neuroscientist and philosopher, Sam Harris) reject the existence of mind and free agency because they know they cannot be explained physically or materially. If our common experience reveals the existence of non-material and non-physical realities that cannot be governed by ‘natural,’ physical law, why would anyone reject the reasonable existence of other realities that aren’t governed by ‘natural,’ physical law?”
“A famous skeptic named David Hume argued against the existence of miracles because he believed that evidence for what occurs repeatedly (or regularly) ought to outweigh evidence for what occurs rarely. Since miracles occur so infrequently and are rare in our uniform experience, Hume argued that we shouldn’t believe in them. But miracles are – by definition – rare events that violate natural laws and common experience. If we are willing to accept the evidence for rare events (like the evidence offered by ‘Big Bang’ Cosmologists), and our most common, uniform experience is non-material and non-physical (our experience of consciousness and free agency), why would anyone reject the existence of a miracle on the basis of its rarity?”
Our “Quick Shot” series was written specifically for the Cold-Case Christianity App (you can download it on Apple and Android platforms – be sure to register once you download the App). When confronted with an objection in casual conversation, App users can quickly find an answer without having to scroll beyond the first screen in the category. Use the App “Quick Shots” along with the “Rapid Responses” and Case Making “Cheat Sheets” to become a better Christian Case Maker.
For more information about the scientific and philosophical evidence pointing to a Divine Creator, please read God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. This book employs a simple crime scene strategy to investigate eight pieces of evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable explanation. The book is accompanied by an eight-session God’s Crime Scene DVD Set(and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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